Culture Spotlight Featuring Boris Tsessarsky
A New Yorker and Russian immigrant who grew up in the 80s and 90s, Boris Tsessarsky was deeply immersed in underground hip-hop culture. After receiving his MFA from Sarah Lawrence College, Boris wrote and directed his first film—the award-winning documentary “King’s Highway: The Story of Malcolm Fairfield” (2016). In 2018, Boris co-founded—along with PaulA Neves—Parkway North Productions, directing and co-producing the short film “Every Alien Pen” (2019), which premiered at the New York Independent Film Festival, and the hip-hop documentary “The Remedy” (2021), which has screened at the 2021 Hip Hop Film Festival, the 2021 Newark International Film Festival, and Doc-N-Roll Festival, among others.
eWhy are stories from the culture important? Film Festival? I had a very good experience with the 2021 HHFF. I met some great filmmakers, saw some excellent films, and attended some super helpful workshops on distribution and marketing. The support staff and communication were good. We were supposed to do a one-on-one interview with the festival, but that didn't work out. Otherwise, everything went smoothly, including our screening, though we weren't able to see how many people or who was present in the audience.
Why are stories from the culture important? Stories from the culture are always important because they shine a light on people, communities, and artists who are often marginalized by mainstream media outlets. It's stories from the culture that often become the basis for more popular TV series and movies, but it's past time that voices who are close to the culture get the respect and attention they deserve.
What projects are you working on now? Right now my production team--Parkway North Productions--is working on a short documentary project about gentrification in Dallas, and a longer-term documentary that involves a road trip through Pennsylvania along I-80.
Why do you think the Harlem Film House and Hip Hop Film Festival are important? The Harlem Film House and Hip Hop Film Festival are important because, without them, stories from the culture would be harder to see or be exposed to. It is amazing how many voices, both domestic, and international, that the festival brings together to showcase these original and personal stories.